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  • Current Affairs 19th May 2017

    Updated : 20-May-2017
    Current Affairs 19th May 2017

    Current Affairs 19th May 2017 - Important Points

    • Prize Money hiked for Champions Trophy by - International Cricket Council
    • Operation Clean Money portal launched by - Union Government
    • Framework for South China Sea code of conduct agreed by - China ASEAN
    • Cheapest respiratory filter developed by - IIT Delhi scientists
    • First Human Antibodies to fight Ebola viruses discovered by - Researchers
    •  All India Open Rapid FIDE Rating Chess Meet won by - R R Laxman
    •  GST Rates of 1211 items announced by - GST Council
    •  Japanese Cabinet approved bill to allow - Japan’s first abdication of emperor in 200 years
    • Joint HADR Exercise commences at - Naval Station Karwar
    • Simbex-17 begins on - 18th May 2017
    • Anti-dumping duty imposed on imports of chemical, aluminium foil from -  China
    • Indian-American student Pranay Varada wins - National Geographic Bee Competition 2017

    Current Affairs 19th May 2017 - Details

    Prize Money hiked for Champions Trophy by - International Cricket Council

    • The International Cricket Council announced in the second week of May 2017 that the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy carries a total prize money of USD 4.5 million. 
    • The winner of the eight-team tournament will take home a cheque of $ 2.2 million.
    • The runner-up of the tournament will get a cheque of USD 1.1 million, while the other two semi-finalists will get USD 450000 each.
    • Teams finishing third in each group will take home USD 90000 each, while the teams finishing last in each group will be given USD 60000 each.
    • The eighth edition of the tournament sees hike of USD 500000 in prize money from the 2013 edition.
    • The upcoming ICC Champions Trophy will be played in England and Wales from 1st June to 18th June 2017.

    Do you know?

    The ICC Champions Trophy is a One Day International cricket tournament organised by International Cricket Council

    Operation Clean Money portal launched by - Union Government

    Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched Operation on 16th May 2017 Clean Money Portal with an aim to keep a tab on dishonest citizens hiding their income from the authorities and government.

    Key Highlights

    • It will provide comprehensive information at one place consisting of step by step guides, frequently asked questions (FAQs), Quick references, user guides and training toolkits related to verification process.
    • It will enable citizen engagement for creating a tax compliant society and citizens would be able to support the Operation Clean Money by taking pledge,  by engaging and educating fellow citizens, and sharing their experiences and providing feedback.

    Framework for South China Sea code of conduct agreed by - China ASEAN

    China and South-east Asian countries agreed to a draft framework for a long-mooted code of conduct (CoC) for the  disputed South China Sea on 18th May 2017. The agreement was reached with a hope that it could reduce the clashes risk in one of the world's busiest waterways.

    China's foreign ministry said after a meeting between Chinese and Association of South East Asian Nations officials in the southern city of Guiyang, the draft framework had been agreed upon, although he gave no details of its contents.

    The Ministry said senior officials have completed the draft Code of Conduct (COC) framework negotiations, ahead of the mid-2017 timeline which leaders of ASEAN and China had set.

    According to a joint press statement issued at the end of the one-day senior officials' meeting, this draft COC framework will be submitted to the foreign ministers for consideration. China and the ASEAN are hoping to agree on the framework this year which is around 15 years after committing to draft it.

    Cheapest respiratory filter developed by - IIT Delhi scientists

    Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi researchers developed cheapest respiratory filter, named ‘Nasofilters’. The filter, which is ready for commercialisation, restricts entry of upto 95 percent dust and air pollutants. It is the cheapest naso filter available in comparison to the face masks and other alternatives available in the market to fight critical level of air pollution.

    The product will soon be available in Indian and global markets under the brand name Nasofilters by Nanoclean Global Pvt Ltd. The innovators team was recently awarded with the National Startups Award by President Pranab Mukherjee. The team included IIT Delhi faculty members Manjeet Jassal and Ashwini K Agrawal, institute alumni Sanjeev Jain, Prateek Sharma, Tushar Vyas and a student Jatin Kewlani.

    Important highlights

    • Nasofilters is a nano-respiratory filter.
    • It comes for Rs 10.
    • It gives protection against the finest particulate pollutants in the air for minimum eight hours.
    •  This device is quite effective to reduce the risk of respiratory diseases.
    • The filters aim to provide relief to common users from air pollution and to protect allergies prone people. 
    • It also save those who are exposed to job related industrial particulate pollutants.
    • The filter can stick to the user’s nasal opening and would restrict entry of foreign particulate matter including PM 2.5 particles, bacteria and pollen allergens.

    Device manufacturing?

    The project to develop the filter involved assembling millions of small-sized pores to create a thin flexible membrane. The membrane could capture very small particles with high efficiency. It allows filters to be used for long hours while maintaining good breathability and comfort.

    First Human Antibodies to fight Ebola viruses discovered by - Researchers

    • Scientists team from the United States have discovered a possible cure for all five known Ebola viruses, one of which ravaged West Africa in recent years.
    • This research was published online in journal Cell as 'Antibodies from a human survivor define sites of vulnerability for broad protection against Ebola viruses' on 18th May 2017.
    • After analyzing the survivor blood of the 2013-16 Ebola outbreak, a team of scientists discovered the first natural human antibodies that can neutralize and protect animals against all three major disease-causing Ebola viruses.
    • The findings could lead to broadly effective Ebola virus therapies and vaccines and these antibodies can be used as a single therapy to treat all Ebola viruses.
    • Kartik Chandran, a Microbiology Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, helped identifying the antibodies. 
    • The study was co-led by viral immunology chief, John M Dye at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).

    Do you know?

    Ebola viruses infections are severe and often fatal. There are no vaccines or treatments approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for these viruses. 

    All India Open Rapid FIDE Rating Chess Meet won by - R R Laxman

    Grand Master R R Laxman of Integral Coach Factory won the All India Open Rapid FIDE Rating Chess Tournament at the Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra, Kolkata, West Bengal on 18th May 2017.

    Interesting Highlights

    • He finished on top with 9.5 points in the tournament.
    • FIDE Master Mitrabha Guha racked up 8.5 points to finish second in the 10-round tournament. 
    • Untitled Srijit Paul finished third ahead of Grand Master Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury with a better tie-break score.
    • International Master Somak Palit secured fifth place with the scores 7.5 points while another International Master Prantik Roy was placed eighth in the tournament.

     GST Rates of 1211 items announced by - GST Council

    The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council fixed the GST rates for specific products on 18th May 2017 which may lead to lower prices for a majority of products of mass consumption. Moreover, the GST Council also fixed the deadline for rolling out the GST on 1st July 2017 to create a single national market.

    Key Highlights

    • GST Rates of 1211 items were finalised by the GST council with 81 percent of them facing a levy of tax upto 18 percent. However, GST  Council has to decide on the GST levy on biscuits,gold, packaged and branded cereals, bidis,footwear and textiles.
    • Foodgrains, cereals and milk will cost less from 1st July as the GST Council decided to exempt these daily-use commodities from the GST levy list.
    • Common use products like hair oil, soaps and toothpaste will be charged with GST of 18 percent instead of present 22-24 percent tax.
    • Sweets will attract 5 percent GST levy.
    • Daily-use items like sugar, tea, coffee and edible oil will attract the lowest tax rate of 5 percent, almost the same as current incidence. 
    • For coal, there will be reduction of tax from 11.69 percent to 5 percent, helping to lower the cost of power.
    • Similarly, the burden on those buying refrigerators or washing machines will come down from around 31-32 percent to 28 percent. 

     Japanese Cabinet approved bill to allow - Japan’s first abdication of emperor in 200 years

    Paving the way for the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in nearly two centuries, Japan’s Cabinet approved a bill that would allow Emperor Akihito to step down on 19th November 2017.

    This approval will allow Emperor Akihito to hand over the Chrysanthemum Throne to Crown Prince Naruhito, 57. As per reports, the government envisions December 2018 as the possible timing for his abdication by this time when the Emperor will turn 85 years old. It also says that the abdication will also mark nearly 30 years on the throne for the emperor.

    More about the Bill 

    • The bill is one-off legislation and it would allow only Akihito to step down, with no provisions for future emperors.
    • It also makes no reference to the controversial issue of changing the system to allow women to inherit the throne, or  to stay in the imperial family upon marriage, Japanese media said, however political parties are discussing a separate resolution on this topic.
    • Both steps have been suggested as ways to deal with male heirs shortage and a shrinking pool of royals generally, a problem thrust back into the limelight this week, with news that Akihito's eldest granddaughter will marry a common person, after which she too must become a common person.
    • There are four heirs in the line of succession - Akihito's two middle-aged sons, Akihito's octogenarian brother, and Hisahito, the 10-year-old son of Akihito's younger son.
    • The crown prince has one teenage daughter, Aiko , but she cannot inherit the throne.
    • In 2005, with hopes for a male heir fading, then-prime minister Junichiro Koizumi prepared to challenge a 1947 law limiting succession to male descendants of emperor. But the proposal was shelved back after Hisahito was born in the next year.

    Joint HADR Exercise commences at - Naval Station Karwar

    The Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise began on 18th May 2017 at Naval Station Karwar. Named as 'Karavali Karunya', which means assistance to the coast of Karnataka, is an exercise being conducted by Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command.

    Key Highlights

    •  It involves both professional exchange and actual disaster response mechanisms which is set for Tsunami disaster scenarios.
    • Kravali Karunya means ''. It will see the armed forces, central government agencies and state government departments working together to provide relief in a post-tsunami scenario.
    • The proceedings of the day also included setting up Internally Displaced People camp and static display. The Camp at Rabindranath Tagore Beach will be open to all.
    • There will be a demonstration using aircraft, a pollution control ship and survey ships during the exercise.

    Simbex-17 begins on - 18th May 2017

    Simbex-17, a bilateral naval exercise between India and Republic of Singapore commenced on 18th May 2017 in the South China Sea. Indian naval ships Shivalik, Sahyadri, Jyoti and Kamorta and one P8-I Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft are participating in this excercise.

    While INS Sahyadri and INS Kamorta are at Singapore since 12th May 2017, INS Shivalik and INS Jyoti would be joining directly for the sea phase of the exercise.

     More about Simbex

    • Simbex is an abbreviation for Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises.
    • In 994, Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy.
    • The Simbex-17 is the 24th in the series and is aimed to raise interoperability between the RSN and IN as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
    • The scope of the current exercise includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase scheduled from 18th May to 20th May 2017 and a diverse range of operational activities at sea during the Sea Phase to be held from 21st May to 24th May 2017.
    • Exercises thrust would be on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), integrated operations with Surface, Air and Sub-surface forces, Air Defence and Surface Encounter Exercises this year.

    Anti-dumping duty imposed on imports of chemical, aluminium foil from -  China

    India imposed anti-dumping duty on a Chinese chemical used in the pharma industry and aluminium foil to protect domestic industry from cheap imports on 18th May 2017.

    Finance minister imposed an anti-dumping duty of up to 1.63 US Dollar per kg was imposed on aluminium foil, up to 8.71 US Dollar per kg duty was slapped on imports of amoxicillin, used in pharmaceuticals for a period of five years.

    Indian-American student Pranay Varada wins - National Geographic Bee Competition 2017

    • Pranay Varada, 14-year-old Indian-American student won the prestigious National Geographic Bee competition 2017 on 18th May 2017.
    • As a National Geographic Bee champion, he gets USD 50000 in scholarship and other prizes.
    • He won the first tie breaker question when he correctly identified the Kunlun Mountains  as the 1200 mile range that separates the Taklimakan Desert from the Tibetan Plateau.
    • Veda Bhattaram another Indian-American from New Jersey finished third at the finals, while Thomas Wright from Wisconsin was declared the runner up.
    • After winning the competition, Varada has maintained the dominance of the Indian-American community in the contest as for the past one decade,  National Geographic Bee has been dominated by Indian-Americans.
    • Rishi Nair, a sixth grader from Florida, won the contest in 2016. Varada was a runner up that time. 

    More about National Geographic Bee

    • The National Geographic Bee is an annual geography contest sponsored by the National Geographic Society. 
    • The competition allows American school students of fourth to eighth grade to participate.


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